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‘People think it’s a racetrack’ - thumbs up for town’s plans to tackle its HGV problems

PUBLISHED: 14:39 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:39 06 February 2020

Traffic congestion on on Hungate, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

Traffic congestion on on Hungate, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

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Calls for a whole town to be under a 20mph speed limit have been backed by councillors and campaigners alike as they try to stop HGVs ignoring a new £7m relief road.

Andrea Carr, Beccles Mayor. Picture: Nick ButcherAndrea Carr, Beccles Mayor. Picture: Nick Butcher

Beccles Town Council approved plans this week for a reduced speed limit, while also recommending steps to tackle the lack of HGVs using the Southern Relief Road, which opened in 2018.

The proposal passed by the town council on February 4 supports a 20mph zone for "the whole of Beccles, including the installation of discrete and appropriate traffic calming measures", as well as supporting the introduction of a 7.5 tonne weight restriction for the town centre and improved signage for the Southern Relief Road.

Residents and campaigners packed into the council chamber to see 10 councillors vote in favour of the proposals, with two abstentions.

Beccles mayor Andrea Carr said: "Many years ago I was part of the group campaigning to get a 20mph zone in Northgate so when anyone mentions speed limits I'm listening.

Robert Rous, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk opens the new £7m Beccles Southern Relief Road. Picture: Nick ButcherRobert Rous, Vice Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk opens the new £7m Beccles Southern Relief Road. Picture: Nick Butcher

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"The Road Safety Group asked if the council would, in principle, support their proposals and we debated it at our council meeting.

"It was standing room only, with many of the members of the public bringing placcards to show their support. It was lovely to have so many passionate people in the chamber. We had no one representing against it.

"It is important because of the demographic of the town, with a lot of older people and children. There are narrow paths and an old town but there are a few people who think the town is a perfect racetrack, with loud exhausts and being dangerous."

Traffic congestion on on Hungate, Beccles. Picture: Nick ButcherTraffic congestion on on Hungate, Beccles. Picture: Nick Butcher

The £7m relief road was built in a bid to reduce the number of HGVs in the centre of the town, although calls for better signage were made in March last year as the impact of the road was examined.

Adrian Simpson-James, of the Beccles Road Safety Group, said: "We are delighted to receive the firm support of the town council in pursuing our aims to make the roads and streets of our town safer for its residents and visitors.

"To put these aims into practice will require a continued campaign to convince the county council that they are necessary and worthwhile. Moves have already been made over weight restrictions and improvements to relief road signage and we are awaiting a response from SCC."


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